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Why is (Ahem) not on Bayreuth’s Mount Rushmore?

A report from Simon Morgan in Bayreuth:

At a news conference today ahead of the festival opening, Ring director Frank Castorf was asked why Hitler wasn’t one of the four heads in the “Mount Rushmore” line-up.
Castorf replied that he had made a conscious decision not to make explicit references to Hitler and the Nazis in his Ring, even if he had toyed with the idea of dressing Alberich’s slaves in Nibelheim in concentration camp garb, but ultimately rejected it.
“Ausfluege in andere Zusammenhaenge finde ich interessanter,” he said. (“I find forays into other spheres of association more interesting.)

bayreuth ring

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  1. Ahem, shouldn’t we wait until after the first performance before asking and answering questions like this one?

  2. Leftists usually loathe to admit that Hitler’s National Socialism and Stalin’s International Socialism were two sided of the same coin.

    • Wise words. There are stupid people who never opened a history book who frown when you say this.

      • Fabio Fabrici says:

        There are also smart people who not only opened but also read many history books, who simply shake their heads when he says this.

  3. Theodore McGuiver says:

    Why the hell should he be there? Let’s not start getting silly.

  4. Including Hitler could appear to relativize the Holocaust, never a good move in Germany, or anywhere else for that matter.

  5. Hitler was a National Socialist, those handsome devils were International Socialists. Mind you, it looks like the TUC’s idea of a 4th plinth.

    • Fabio Fabrici says:

      Hitler was first of all a fascist. (fascism is the amalgam of corporations and government, bypassing the will of the people). The “socialist” terminology in “Nationalsozialismus” is confusing for our anglo-american friends. It does not stand for socialist ideologies as they understand it. It stands for a movement that was trying to appeal to the masses “from the bottom”, to steal the support base from the other major electoral force in Germany, social democracy and communist movements, and in the troubled times of the Weimar Republic they successfully did.
      Both support bases, electoral from the bottom masses, financial from the international(!) finance and corporate elite, both are crucial for understanding (Ahem’s) rise to power.

      The question why (Ahem) is not there is a legitimate one, since his direct adversary Stalin made it into the display.
      The usual lineups for the communist Walhalla portraits are either the Holy Trinity of Marx-Engels-Lenin or the Quintett of Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin-Mao. This quartett is unique, probably symbolizing the four parts of the Ring cycle.

      • Fabio Fabrici says:

        …and imitating Mt. Rushmore of course.

      • Stalin and Hitler were adversaries much later. Stalin trained the Nazi army in Russia, once Germany was forbidden to have an army and train it by the Treaty of Versailles. If you actually read “Mein Kampf” as well reasearch on the recent disclosed Soviet archives, you will see how they were close in ideological terms.

    • Gurnemanz says:

      Ian Kershaw and Richard Evans have in their works shown how the “socialist” in the NSDAP was put to cynical use on Hitler’s part and how there was not a whiff of socialism in the nazi governance once they came to power.

  6. Gurnemanz says:

    Castorf should be commended for the small favour of deciding against the umpteenth gratuitous insertion of AH in a Wagner oeuvre. As for the other idea he toyed with, it’s good he rejected it ultimately because it was rather tasteless but it would undermine some of the canards against The Ring and Wagner’s work in general.

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